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tv   The Stream  Al Jazeera  September 12, 2014 12:30pm-1:01pm EDT

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of the news on our website. you can stay up to date on john kerry's trip through the middle east as he works to build a coalition of countries across the middle east, plus you can find a wide range of blogs from all of our correspondent. >> hi i'm lisa fletch fletcher and you're in the stream. we're talking with innovators working to stop 35 million tons of food from being wasted every year in the u.s. our digital
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producer wajahat ali is taking your comments. how to get a handle on this problem. >> yeah and even our own stream team is guilty of this, megan our producer's pumpkin bars wasted, the perfectly good care rots, h rotlecarrots, we need to fix the source of this problem, the consumer who overbuys, leading to food waste, black nerd says, we need to go back to smaller portions, american portions are muj compared to other countries. you are the third host of the show, throughout the show engage us, using the
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twitter #a jam stream. ,. >> the average american spends about $150 on produce to poultry. nearly half of what's tossed in the cart doesn't end up in anyone's belly, instead it ends up here in the landfill. according to the national institutes of healthy, the cost of $165 or more. research shows confusing dates on packaging oversized portions and minor imperfections lead americans to toss instead of taste food that is otherwise edible. according to the united nations, food waste isn't just a problem for our pocket books, it's also causing problems for the planet. >> wasted food emits some 3.3 gigatons of greenhouse gases. if this were a country it would represent the third largest emitting country in the world. this cannot continue.
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with a future of more people and fewer resources, we cannot afford to throw our natural resources out with the garbage. the solution starts with you. each producer supermarket household restaurant and nation has a role to play. >> social media is connecting food suppliers with charities like d.c.'s central kitchen right here in washington to help feed americans with not enough to eat. farmers and truckers, and by consumers to monitor food waste. those are just a few of the initiatives being taken to combat food waste. here with great insight, dana gunders who works on sustainability policy. doug rowe is the ceo of the daily table, a market that will sell what's considered expired food. he is also the former president
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of trader joe's. and roger gordon is the president of food cowboy. welcome everybody to the stream. dana, this is nuts. how is it possible that 40% of america's food is just being thrown away? >> it's outrageous, really. and you know, it's happening everywhere as you mentioned. it's food that doesn't look quite right so it winds up staying on the farms. it's food that goes bad in our fridge and it's our huge portions that we have on our breakfast platters. all of that adds up, to 40% of all the food in this country, never getting eaten. >> talk about the resources that go into this waste, the food going into the trash, there's a lot of other stuff being trashed along the way. >> it's true, across the u.s. about 80% of our water and over half of our land area is dedicated to agriculture. so when we're not eating that food it's a huge resource
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investment that's gone to waste. in fact they estimate about a full quarter of all the water in the u.s. is going to grow food that never gets eaten. >> so on a transition here, you've done a lot of research and writing on expiration dates as one of the causes for wasted foods. explain that to our viewers? >> well, when we looked at all the things causing the waste, one of the things that really stood out was that so many people were misinterpreting what the dates on food means. so they actually are your use by date your best by date are freshness date, when food is at its top quality. while nine out of ten americans believe that the food are actually urch safe on thos those ---unsafe on those dates. >> the community is outraged that we waste so much food.
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starving for that left overfood it's shame physical. when you have poor communities getting cheaper but not nutritious food, that's another problem. gustavo, europeans are taught not to waste food. here is a comment from nick. >> we rescue food from restaurants and food providers, we redistribute to it families that suffer from food insecurity. the amount of food wasted in the united states is more than enough to feed those in need. on the one hand 40% of food in the u.s. is wasted. food waste and hunger in the united states. >> so doug you just heard that look 133 billion pounds of food do not go into american stomachs they're wasted and knew we have one in six americans who don't have enough food oeat.
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how do we bridge that divide? >> that's a tough one. i think that quite honestly we start with awareness. building and understanding, and it reminds me a lot of the environmental movement. i'm old enough to remember when recycling wasn't an expectation and society hasn't embraced it. i think there's some analogies about that. i think what we're doing is raising awareness what dana and harvard food lock clinic did in their report was greatly. others like nick and the hundreds of organizations that are recovering this food are all doing good work and it will help raise the issue. but at the end of the day, it's up to each of us to make a dent in this. doug. >> dug the idoug the fallacy of this, the project you're doing to bring
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food into nood waste lands, what are you doing? >> my years in the food industry, watching the perfectly good foodstuff that was wholesome or healthy, because of a cosmetic imperfection getting tossed out and it was very difficult getting that food recovered. it's getting a little easier but it's still difficult. we have so much food going into the landfill, the number one source of the stuff in the landfill. people who are insecure or hungry if you would why don't we use one problem to help solve the problem for the other. go down, collect this food, bring it into a retail setting, you could cook it up, if it's produce offer it with pennys on the dollar where it could compete with junk food and you
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could have agnostic discussion for these economically challenged families as to whether you wanted to feed your families good food, or junk food. that is the idea behind daily table, do it in a manner that provides, they getting to customers which is a manner that provides dignity. >> you mentioned landfills, noaca on facebook says why not distribute produce as organic compost? here is all the way from pakistan, we need to reduce food waste, it will be helpful to reduce again land pollution and even this one from nigeria, we need to reduce food waste. reduce hunger. what are your thoughts? >> the way we look at it and we're focused more on supply chain waste is waste comes from two different places.
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one is the supply change one spontaneous in odd lots and then it comes from consumers. next mostly behavioral. so what we've got to do is change this culture of waste that we've got and mrs. give people some practice -- and also give people some practical solutions, without that they don't try anymore. >> so what if you're a food producer who wants to send surplus food to charities instead of the landfill but you fear you're going to be sued? we're going to discuss that next. we'll share more on the other side of the break.
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intertaking produce that would have been throanl away and transforming into a healthy meals for our clients. 5,000 meals every day come out of this building and are
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distributed to 88 nonprofits that are around the city. >> incredible. welcome back. what you're looking at is food donated to a d.c. area charity that couldn't be sold in stores because it just didn't look right. the organization says in 2012 it recovered 700,000 pounds of food that just didn't look right and transformed it into almost 2,000 healthy meals. woj, an innovation, a lot of people are tweeting in. >> z shawn said, apps can help you keep shopping lists and in fact of what you can do to help reduce food waste. leftover swap, hungry and cheap we understand. you can see all the available lefovers around your neighborhood and arrange for a pickup or delivery. 222 million tons. another app, a meal planning app
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that helps you make sure you don't are waste it when you buy it. >> i'm cropt duster -- crop we noticed a lot of produce from our farm was going to the chickens and the produce pile not to people. so we built crop, where people and producers can get together to find a home for food that should never go to waste. thank you so much for your interest, have an awesome day. >> roger as we mentioned you're the founder an organization called food cowboy. how are you seeing technology used to transform these programs? >> the trucker doesn't know where to take the food once it gets rejected. if you think of trucks as jumbo jets and food banks as the airports, they're airlines
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without the control towers. using smartphones and location based services we can actually give truckers realtime information about where to take the 2 million tons of wholesome produce that gets thrown away every year. >> that produce that gets thrown away rejected for having brown tips on the green beans or whatever, how many kids can that feed? >> it can feed 50 million children. just because the little bar code on the sticker is wrong or the tips are brown or the eggplants are too round and not elongated. no one can afford to move food that is expensive, no one can move food that they can't sell, it is often a dumpster. >> great website. frish freshie that came to us, keeps food fresher give us their
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website and apparently they have a break through that increases the shelf life of all food so you don't waste it. vick or the, a country full of fresh food, america needs to learn how to recycle, another video comment take a listen. >> we love food waste here. we turn it into energy fertilizer and food and there's never been a shortage of it around here to work on so please, keep throwing away your food waste and we'll keep making the energy fertilizer and food for the rest of the world to use. have a great day! >> so dana talk to us about the latest technology that's really helping keep food freshness and also food recyclability. >> i do think there's an explosion of just innovation going on in the space of reducing food waste. everything from the apps that you have been speaking about. but also in the hardware category and i think you just mentioned a company that's extending shelf life. there are strips for instance
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that absorb the gas ethylene, where the gas makes things ripen more quickly. products like strawberries could have more life. the refrigerator hasn't changed pretty much since it was invented. and why not have something that uses all the technology we know today that has a drawer that has a modified atmosphere like your spinach bag. why doesn't a refrigerator have two temperatures instead of five? so you can keep food at the temperature they're really supposed to be at? >> hey doug is there any innovation that you're seeing at the production level? >> there's a lot of innovation going on. first of all if you're in the food industry you don't like seeing food wasted, you don't like seeing food thrown out, i have to jump in here, for purchase the food industry, you're in america. we've been able to drop prices
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on food, yet on the other hand because of that, we don't hesitate to throw it out because it's so cheap. so a lot of the innovation and it's happening at producer ends i think really are around, are limited i would say, by the fact that you are primarily serving a customer. whether you're a trailer in america or you're -- a retailer, if it's an hour before you close you walked in, you wouldn't expect to see one of everything that's for sale. here if you don't, you are unhappy and let the store know that hey, you know you just got off work you're here it's 8:00 and you want to get that very specific you know perishable product. so that i think it's -- there are a lot of innovations but i think that quite honestly what concerns me is that we really need to innovate the ways in which we, as the driving force, as customers, are
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interacting with retailers, food service et cetera. >> that reminds me of an incredibly interesting story about your shopping one evening. >> i went to costco, they have a fantastic chicken rotisserie section, i asked them in ten minutes where are these chickens going to go? and the guy says, he is lamenting, says i would have to throw it out. i said i will take it to a food shelter. he said i would love to but by law i have to throi i throw it e can't expose ourselves to.litigation. we work with student to redistribute food to their communities and aaron says, it's worth noting, this food gets thrown out before it reaches the
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grocery store or restaurant. doug what can we do to incentivize people at costco who want to give away this food but don't because of a liability attached. >> first of all there's a lot of misunderstanding about that liability. fortunately under bill clinton we passed the bill emerson good samaritan food donation act, that was when dan emerson was secretary of agriculture. any food given to a nonprofit is basically protected from liability issues unless there's gross negligence or et cetera. so there already are a number of really good powerful protections and one of the things that the harvard food and law clinic did was they, for me on daily table because i had a concern on this, they went out and researched the law and that as a nonprofit you're protected as long as there's no gross negligence, knowing that you were distributing food that was not
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wholesome or unhealthy. i think there's a lot of misunderstanding among retailers, food service et cetera, about that law. open and exposed food that restaurants have or in this case say costco, regarding all the vast majority of products, they are really protected if they give it to a 501 c 3. >> do you run into this problem? >> we do but it's not so prevalent in food chain. everyone is licensed to move the food. if it's just damaged we'll route it to a food up and dow pantry. if you count up all the food that food companies donate to food banks all year long it's about equal to what they waste in 19 days. that's a terrible figure. we can -- the safety issues
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don't exist so much in the supply chain. dash food at least which is also in motion which is being dumped in neighborhoods or near neighborhoods where there are people who need the food with a little forethought and planning can be rerouted directly to the food banks which right now have to rely on schedules of foods which is not good for people. >> once food is processed, is a step in the process. but are there ways to cut back and rethink our food habits? >> food waste is still a resource, nonperishable and nonspoiled food can be donated. can be used for industrial uses or composting, every little bit helps. we may not be able to eliminate food waste but we can stop considering it as a waste and
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>> our plates have gotten bigger. we feel the need to fill those. our portion sizes have increased by more than 40% in the last 30 years. there are huge amounts of food being pushed upon us, that we didn't have in the past, and you know, frankly there's just too
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much of it. >> welcome back. we're talking about innovative ways being used to combat food waste in america. dana, that summed up, there's too much of it, more food being produced, more wasted. what about before the stores, is there anything being done to limit or adjust to a level that is truly schoolable? >> hmm, you know, not so much. i haven't heard of too much going on to really adjust production. and as everyone's pointed out, you know, it is making it all the way through the supply chain and to us where it gets wasted. i do think the signals we are sending is driving a lot of that up through the chain, through cosmetic imperfections and the overbuying we do. if you think about it we're facing a future where we're
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going ohave 9 billion people. we just can't afford to overproduce at the levels we do now. particularly when you think that all of those future people are going to have increasing demands as they get more affluent for more meat and dairy and you know the resources implied there when you throw out one hamburger it's the equivalent of throwing out a 90 minute shower's worth of water. so we do really need to be more careful about it all. >> you raise an interesting point dana. i was reading earlier, we have got 40% of america's food goes to waste but to me one of the most shocking statistics i've read is a component of that 40% is 2 billion animals in the u.s. are killed every year and thrown away. 9 billion are killed in the food system every year, 2 billion of those just go to waste. doug, to me that raises the level of moral and ethical responsibility we have to not waste. >> i absolutely agree.
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i think that perfect is the enemy of the good is the saying and i think in this case, to me i'm always amazed with the fact that we put our values aside when we go into a grocer and we expect everything to look perfect. we know it doesn't grow that way in nature. when we go to a farmer's market that's one of the few areas we actually suspend that. if you find beautiful apples that you find at a grocer, you say wait a minute, did you really grow it that way? we know that's not the way it is or we call it heirloom. the environmental science of it, we owe it to everyone on this planet to do a better job with the resources and husbanding for the future for our kids these precious resources of water, land and you know what's happening climate change wise. and i think it goes right to the fact that we've got to learn to, within our marines, plan a
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little better. -- within our means, plan a little better, not expect the super-size and allow for a little more cosmetic imperfection. >> you're community is rolling in with a lot of suggestions here. julian says food not bombs. guys guys guys got the solution to this food wasting problems. south asian aunties, yelling it's a sin to waste food. estella says, i see tonight my own family, refuse toed a a cup, don't eat the leftovers. how can we as americans every day reduce the food waste? >> what doug said, consumers drive demand. retailers, that level of waste is predictable. second, people should take mayor
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kids to real farms, not petting zoos. they'll value it more. >> dana we've got about 30 seconds left. you want to give us your final not? >> yes, start in your own kitchen, start in the last week, why did you waste whatever food you threw away? understand when food really does go bad, don't trust those dates meaning when food is unsafe. just be a little more conscious when you're at the store. >> what a great program tonight. >> i felt like we did something positive, helped people out in a good way. >> that is a good take away, that is the end of our time. thank you so much for your innovation and your taking part in the discussion. until next time waj and i will see you online.
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seeking support for a coalition to fight the islamic state group, u.s. secretary of state john kerry tackles a reluctant host in turkey. ♪ hello there i'm laura kyle, this is al jazeera live from doha. also ahead on the program, russian's president, vladimir putin is threatening retaliation and the e.u. and u.s. introduce new sanctions. south african athlete, oscar pistorius is found guilty of manslaughter in the killing


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